First, and most importantly, ALR is different because we have an incredible team of language learners working on this together. You can learn more about our team here.
All Language Resources was started out of frustration.
I had moved to Beijing and was looking for language learning resources to study Mandarin. But, nearly every website I came across was recommending the same handful of resources.
Many of the ‘reviews’ read more like sales pages. And, in fact, many language resource reviews still are nothing more than thinly-veiled sales pages.
Besides the frustration of not being able to find honest information, some of the best resources, which weren’t available in lots of different languages, were being completely ignored.
So, All Language Resources was born out of a desire to make it easier to figure out which language learning resources are available and worth using.
The inherent bias of reviewing language learning resources
Pretty much every website that writes reviews of language learning products earns money from affiliate commissions.
This basically means that if a reader clicks on one of the links and goes on to buy the product, the person whose link you clicked will earn a fee or percentage of the sale.
This creates a very clear and direct incentive to push users to buy certain products that the site owner can earn a commission from.
It causes a massive conflict of interest where the person reviewing a product is also the person getting paid if people buy that product. It’s the reason why reviews are often so hard to trust.
All Language Resources also earns money from affiliate commissions, but we’re proactive about not allowing that to impact our reviews.
How we address the issue of bias
There are two main types of bias that we’re working hard to prevent on ALR.
The first type of bias is the most obvious and harmful. It’s the monetary incentive to recommend certain products even if they aren’t the best option.
We prevent this by not allowing our reviews to be influenced by our potential to earn money from a company. Whoever is testing and writing about a resource has the complete freedom to write what they want and has the final say in any review. Writers are also not told which companies have an affiliate program, nor are they pressured or incentivized to write anything that they don’t believe. Writers are paid the same whether they love a resource or hate it.
The second type of bias is much more innocent but still needs to be addressed – personal bias.
Everyone has different learning styles, preferences, etc. when it comes to language learning resources. It’s not uncommon for one person’s favorite language-learning resource to be a poor fit for the next person.
There are far too many resources out there for one person to try them all, so there’s a natural risk of ratings fluctuating wildly depending on the person writing the review. To combat this, we’ve created Review Guidelines for rating resources that all reviews follow.
Additionally, we’ve had team members try out several of the same resources and rate them. This has helped keep our reviews consistent regardless of who’s testing the resource. We’ll also often have more than one person look at a resource to get a second opinion on our ratings.
We recognize that we can only provide value to readers if we’re honest and proactive about keeping our content free of bias.
We’ve Tested More Language Learning Resources Than Anyone
We’ve taken a deep dive into testing and writing full reviews of over 100 language learning resources. Additionally, we’ve more briefly tried out and written about hundreds more. These numbers are constantly growing and we work hard to keep our content current and updated.
The point of this is to demonstrate that we know what we’re talking about. You’ll often find people recommend a certain resource, but if they’ve only tested out a handful of other options, how can they be so confident in their recommendation?
Because we’ve tested so many language learning resources, we often find gems that are largely unknown to most people. These gems can be far better than the more well-known resources that have huge marketing budgets. However, not many people are aware of them yet. We do our best to help people find the best resources, even if not many others are talking about them yet.